Jack LaLanne – The Epitome of a Balanced Life

“The most important person in the world is you.  You came into this life alone and you’re going to leave it alone.  But in between, make the rest of your life the best of your life.”  Jack LaLanne, Live Young Forever

One of my personal heroes, Jack LaLanne, passed away yesterday.  Frankly, it shocked me.  Jack was one of those people I expected to go on forever!

If you have no idea who I am talking about, Google Jack LaLanne.  Jack was a pioneer of the fitness movement.  He invented many of the machines we see in fitness centers today, including the Smith machine.   He is responsible for Bally’s.   His last contribution to health and fitness was his Juicer!

I am old enough to remember Jack in my living room in the 1950’s, in his jumpsuit and ballet slippers, doing “Jumping Jacks”.  I remember his white German shepherd, Happy.  (Years later, the first dog I ever owned myself was a white German shepherd – inspired by Jack!)

I have always been interested in health and fitness.  The interest eventually developed into a passion.  Jack LaLanne was a trusted source of inspiration, motivation and information.  He was ahead of his time.  Watching him and listening to him, you just knew he was telling you the truth.  He walked his talk, so he was completely credible.

One of the things I always found most fascinating about Jack – and something that many people apparently don’t know – is that Jack didn’t really like to exercise.  He did it because he liked the results.  I have been inspired by this many times – the man many consider the “godfather of the fitness industry” did not like to exercise – but he did it anyway!  In other words, he led by example.  He WAS the Nike slogan before there was one – JUST DO IT!

I prefer to do my exercise first thing in the morning because I know that it will get done – but I don’t always enjoy getting out of my nice, warm bed at 5:15 AM to get dressed and get on the road if I am going to the gym – or getting on the treadmill if I’m doing cardio in my own home.  Staying in bed, especially on cold winter mornings, is mighty tempting.

When I am tempted, Jack is the first person I think about.  His discipline served him well, and I am happy for his example.

I believe that if you want to be successful at something, you should find someone who is already successful at it and just copy them!  Why re-invent the wheel?  I have been copying Jack for years – and I believe I have a reasonable expectation of living a full life well into my 90’s – and perhaps beyond – because I practice the principles that Jack did.  It worked for him!

I am not just copying Jack in terms of getting up to exercise every day.  Exercise is rightly called the true fountain of youth, but if you don’t fuel your body properly, the effort you put into exercise won’t matter.  A car can’t run without gasoline, no matter how well tuned it is.  The body does not run properly without proper fuel.  Jack knew all about that – in fact, that is where his journey started – at a Paul Bragg lecture on nutrition.

You’ve never heard of Paul Bragg?  Check out the condiment section of your grocery store.  I bet you will find Bragg Liquid Aminos All Purpose Seasoning.  Great stuff.  To learn more, please visit http://bragg.com/index.html.

Dr. Bragg was also a pioneer – also ahead of his time.  He was the single biggest influence on the young Jack LaLanne and had it not been for Jack’s mother taking Jack to hear Dr. Bragg speak, the Jack LaLanne we know may never have developed.

While most people might associate Jack with exercise and feats of strength, in his later years he became famous for his Juicer.  Jack well understood the importance of nutrition in living a healthy life.  After all, it was a lecture on nutrition that turned his life around.  Jack understood the synergy of exercise and proper nutrition.

I have stated in this blog that I believe physical health is the foundation of a balanced life – and that it depends upon good nutrition and regular exercise.  But there is more to good health and balanced living than diet and exercise – and Jack knew this too.  He spoke about it and he wrote about it.  He understood the value of a healthy mental attitude, hard work (Jack did not believe in retirement – neither should you!), healthy relationships, and the importance of what some consider the ancillary aspects of fitness, such as stretching, sleep and hydration.

Jack’s last book even included a chapter on healthy habits such as brushing your teeth, bathing regularly, and hair and skin care.  Jack understood balance all right – and he understood balance at the whole person level.  How anyone could fail to be inspired by this man is beyond me.  

Rest in peace, Jack.  Thank you for your example of a life well lived.  I miss you already.

About bonniejpreston

Life is an adventure. Make every day count. Enrich the lives of those you meet along the way. Don't show up at the end with a wish list. Invest in your health - the dividends paid are priceless. Listen at least twice as much as you talk. Enjoy the journey. Namaste
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